07/16/2014 10:47 am ET Updated Sep 15, 2014

Should You Listen to Your Best Friend?

Alexis Sclamberg

I was hanging out with my best friend in the world the other day. We've known each other since preschool (and she just asked me to be her Maid of Honor!). This is the kind of friendship in which you could talk for hours and hours and still have plenty to say, call each other crying hysterically even if you haven't talked for months on end... that kind. To say the least, I feel very grateful for it.

I was telling my friend about some of my recent challenges -- the usual personal stuff, an issue with a family member, a work thing, etc. And what I found, as always, was an incredibly supportive listener and cheerleader -- ever ready to champion my feelings, hear what I'm saying, offer a sympathetic ear and build me up.

But what I hadn't thought much of before, and that particularly stood out to me the other day, was the way that my friend saw me. You should have heard the things she was saying. I was finally hearing the things she was saying.

And then the question came up: What if I saw myself the way my friend sees me? Strong, resilient, smart, loving funny, kind, pretty, successful...

And similarly -- what if my friend saw herself like I see her (insert the same adjectives here!).

What if we could really be mirrors for each other -- and believe the truths that our greatest friends reflected back to us? Would we show up differently in the world? Would we be more confident? Give ourselves more love? Or -- can you imagine -- be gentle with ourselves and give ourselves the benefit of the doubt once in a while?

We all know that we're our own worst critics. We beat ourselves up over our mistakes, we regret decisions made with the best of intentions, and many of us say really mean things to ourselves (thoughts that are repeated daily as we largely operate on autopilot).

I would guess that you are nicer to the people you love most in your life than you are to yourself. You're easier on them, you're understanding, you're compassionate. You don't berate them for being upset about the guy that never called (the worst is being upset with yourself for being upset! Just compounds the problem). You don't judge them for freaking out when they get a big work assignment ("of course you're freaked out!!") or get angry or think they're stupid when they spill, trip and fall, etc. In fact, maybe you are that kind, loving, compassionate person that your best friend thinks you are.

So I think you should try it: Think of someone who loves you, adores you, thinks you're just the greatest. And for a moment, feel how it would feel to see yourself the way that they see you.

The coolest part is: that IS you. Reflected through someone who really knows you. It's real.

It's the authentic, wonderful, lovable you.

Bonus points go to you if you reach out to a friend, sibling, or parent and tell them all of the wonderful things you think about them, so they start believing them, too.

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